Jesus’ Brazen Serpent Illustration Versus The Limited Atonement Theory

As we’ve mentioned in recent “Doctrine Matters” articles, Calvinists use human reasoning to try to prove that Jesus only died for the elect (the saved). They argue that if Jesus died for people who don’t end up being saved, then some of Jesus’ blood was wasted, and the atonement was ineffective. This may or may not be good human reasoning (I Corinthians 2:5), but it is not the same as having a Bible verse to back up the position (Acts 18:28). No such passage exists. If you think there is one, please present it – so we can examine it.

In John 3:14-15 Jesus used the story of the Israelites being healed of snake bites by looking at a brazen serpent on a pole (Numbers 21:4-9) to illustrate how his upcoming death on the cross would allow believers to be saved. The passage reads, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

This analogy of Jesus helps defeat the “Limited Atonement” position. Remember that God provided physical salvation from snake bite for all the Israelites, but the only ones to take advantage of it would be the ones who looked upon the brazen serpent. Do you see the point? God provided healing for more than those who took advantage of it. But nobody would argue this physical atonement was ineffective, would they? No, it accomplished everything that God intended. His desire was that physical healing be available to any and all who were willing to meet his condition. God’s “brazen serpent on a pole” atonement accomplished everything he intended for it to accomplish.

It is the same with the spiritual atonement. Jesus died so that all who want to be saved (those who meet his conditions – Mark 16:16) can and will be saved. This death accomplished everything God wanted accomplished. It was 100% effective.

To listen to a fair and friendly debate on the “Limited Atonement” theory, click here:

http://98.131.169.180/Debates/Audio/LimitedAtonement-StrawbridgeDonahueDebate20030321/index.htm

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